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Celebrating the rich cultural contributions of our Asian community

Asian Heritage Month: Spotlight on Concordians working in the arts
May 7, 2024
By Louise Morgan, GrDip 99, and Camina Harrison-Chéry, BA 23

A collage of photos featuring five Concordia alumni and one student.

To mark Asian Heritage Month 2024, we highlight accomplished members of Concordia’s Asian community. Learn about six Concordians working to promote and preserve their rich, cultural heritage, and hear from a current and a past member of the university’s Filipino student group, who are featured in our video below.

portrait of man with mustache, wearing grey T-shirt

Sunil Gupta, BComm 77

Sunil Gupta is an Indian-born Canadian photographer, artist, educator and curator, based in London, United Kingdom. After graduating from Concordia with an accounting degree, he changed course, becoming a renowned photographer, focusing on race, migration and queer issues. His work appears in collections around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Tate in London, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the National Gallery of Canada. Gupta has exhibited at dozens of solo shows in North America, Europe and India. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and holds a master’s in photography from the Royal College of Art and a PhD from the University of Westminster, both in London.

Portrait of a person wearing a yellow top Credit: Ananna Rafa and Jenn Qu

Lan “Florence” Yee, BFA 18

Lan “Florence” Yee is a Cantonese-Canadian visual artist and cultural worker, based in Toronto and Montreal. Creating in a range of media — including textile embroidery, sculptural installation, electronic signage, painting and photography — they examine the daily life of their diaspora through the lens of gender, racialization, queerness and language. They have exhibited in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Textile Museum of Canada, Gardiner Museum and Toronto Museum of Contemporary Art and in Montreal at the Darling Foundry. Yee co-founded Toronto’s Chinatown Biennial in 2020. They hold a BFA in studio arts from Concordia and an MFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design University as a Joseph-Armand Bombardier SSHRC scholar. Check out Yee’s current and upcoming exhibitions, including The Traces that Remain, running until June 15, 2024, at the MAI.

Portrait of a woman with long, dark hair holding an instrument

Aprajita Saxena, BFA 19, GrDip 20, MA 22

Toronto-based Aprajita Saxena works as a music therapist and manager of the Canadian Music Therapy Fund. She is focused on increasing access to music therapy services for under-resourced communities. Also an Indian classical musician, Saxena released four singles in 2023. A three-time Concordia graduate, she received a BFA in music performance, graduate diploma in music therapy and an MA in creative arts therapies, in addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from the University of Mumbai in India.

Portrait of a man smiling and wearing glasses and a button-up shirt

Hong (Michael) Deng, MEng 01

Hong (Michael) Deng is founder and president of Microwise System, based in Xi’an, China. His heritage-conservation business, which uses a wireless network to monitor the indoor and outdoor environments of museums and historical sites, is responsible for preserving more than 100 Chinese and Central Asian national treasures. Among them, the 2,220-year-old Terracotta Army. The UNESCO World Heritage site includes more than 8,000 clay relics and is one of the most significant archeological sites in the world. Deng holds a master’s in electrical and computer engineering from Concordia.

Video credit: Camina Harrison-Chéry, BA 23
Portrait of a woman with long, dark hair, wearing glasses and a white top

Kiara Palanca, BA 20

Kiara Palanca works as a citizen service officer with Employment and Social Development Canada. In 2019, she interned with the National Philippine Parliamentary Internship Program in Ottawa. As a student, Palanca helped revive the Filipino Organization of Concordia University Students (FOCUS), serving as its vice-president of External Affairs. The Filipino student group organizes cultural events on campus, including karaoke, fashion shows and their annual Showpao gala. Palanca volunteers as a community outreach partner with Filipinos of Montreal, an organization initiated by two Filipino Concordia alumni.

Portrait of a man, smiling, wearing a white button-up shirt

Edgar Maldo

Edgar Maldo is a Co-op accounting student at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. Originally from the Philippines, Maldo joined FOCUS to deepen ties to his culture. As vice-president of Internal Affairs, he helps organize events, connect Pan-Asian students with professionals and challenge stigmas within the Filipino community. Maldo works as a web designer for a non-profit organization, Sommet Jeunes Afro, where he assists other non-profits and entrepreneurs with their social media and website needs. He aspires to become a CPA and hopes to develop the Filipino community in Montreal and the business industry in his home village of Bicol Sorsogon.

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